One of the presents I got from Keith was this great book - a huge encyclopedia of embroidery stitches with great and detailed pictures!
I couldn't wait to get started on some embroidery so this is what I designed to practice some new stitches:
I'm sorry about the poor photo - can't wait 'til the light returns here to the far north! :-) I promise I'll get a better shot of the finished piece. Anyway, I designed a little sampler to help me try some new stitches, and I wanted it to be something inspirational for the new year... I scanned the pattern for you if you'd like to make one too! There are a lot of straight lines to make trying new stitches really simple - if you do decide to make a new year's sampler yourself, I'd love to see your result!
Click for a larger view of the pattern: